This is the final chapter.
After Lowell Ganz and I split up, his career flourished, and mine was floundering.
Lowell was immediately hired to be the Show Runner back on "Happy Days"
I beseeched him to hire me as a consultant and let me write episodes for the show.
He did, and told me that I can write "As many episodes as I wanted to".
I began writing episodes, and immediately began garnering more respect from Garry Marshall, and from studio people, not Gary Nardino, who most-likely didn't read them, because he was most-likely illiterate.
But my first drafts were virtually shot as written.
"As many episodes as I wanted to" was turned into a hefty handful, but not nearly as many as I wanted.
Lowell didn't want me to be THAT impressive.
During those two seasons, what with the help of the episodes I wrote, and Lowell still diligently listening to my consulting,
Ron Howard was so impressed with "Lowell's work" on "Happy Days" that he asked him to write the movies he planned to direct.
Of course, I still got no credit for the quality of Lowell's work.
And Lowell was still scared shitless to write by himself.
So he recruited one of the staff writers, one Babaloo Mandel, to write the movies with him.
I once asked Lowell if he did a 50-50 split with Mandel on the money.
He maintained that he did.
Yet, in his Emmys interview, he implied that, at least on "Night Shift", it was less than 50-50.
I had built up a lot of capital with Lowell.
The movies he wrote with Mandel, many of them big hits, were as a result of him spending that capital on Mandel rather than me.
Mandel was a joke writer.
He didn't bring any story sense or construction, or taste, to any of their projects.
Of the movies of theirs that I've seen, the first 45 minutes are usually hilarious, and then stumble across the finish line.
If I had co-written those movies instead of Mandel, there would have been no stumbling.
Usually, someone else is given story credit on their films.
They are not storytellers.
Except for "A League of Their Own", which was based on a true story, so it was just a matter of "Connect the dots".
Mandel's actual name is Marc.
He read "Portnoy's Complaint" by Philip Roth.
In it, one of Portnoy's childhood friends goes down to the courthouse on his 16th birthday, and changes his name to "Babaloo".
So Mandel stole my movie career from me, and his first name from Philip Roth.
Ganz and Mandel also were show runners on a few short-lived series.
I understand from an actress who worked on one of them that when it was time to give the acting notes, that Lowell was still the Captain of that ship, and Mandel had to show as much supplicant deference as I had to all those years.
Okay. Then, I went to work on "The New Odd Couple".
And a very fortunate thing happened:
Laverne and Shirley went off the air, and dump trucks started showing up at my house unloading tons of money.
I was actually seeing money from profit participation from it.
I never knew if I actually would.
James Garner had to take Universal to court over "The Rockford Files"
But "Laverne and Shirley was SUCH a huge hit that it would have been just too embarrassing for the studio to claim that they weren't making money on it.
So as I was working on "The New Odd Couple", accruing my newly found riches, I developed a new philosophy about working.
I would only work on shows that I thought could be good, and shows where the work atmosphere was pleasant.
Otherwise, I'd stay home.
I thought "The New Odd Couple" WAS good.
But about ten episodes into it, it became a very unpleasant work atmosphere.
So I quit.
No hard feelings with the studio or the network.
I had gotten the show on it's feet, which was all they needed from me.
After that, I was offered a litany of shows to run which could only be charitably referred to as "crap".
My resume, except for "The Odd Couple" was loaded with shows that hadn't gained any critical respect.
So I kept turning things down.
And if you keep turning down crap, people stop offering you even crap.
And you become known as the guy who keeps turning things down.
Then, I was offered "She's The Sheriff"
I was on the fence about that one.
It sure sounded like crap.
But they sent me the Pilot, and I offered them a lot of ways for it NOT to be crap.
And they were willing to do everything I suggested.
I enjoyed working on it immensely for a year.
Until I realized that I was the only one there who cared about the show being any good.
So with my being respected, and me not respecting the way the show was headed, I left.
And I began writing plays and screenplays, totally enjoying doing that.
And this is why I have this huge hole in my TV resume since 1988.
When Lowell was questioned in the interview about what happened to me after our split, he mentioned the two series I did, and mentioned the plays I had written, in his words "which have toured the country in....dinner theaters".
Not "theatres", but "dinner theaters".
Now, I have nothing against dinner theaters.
I would be pleased to have my plays done in dinner theaters.
But the fact is that my plays have NEVER been performed in venues where food was served.
Nor did I ever tell, or imply, to Lowell, that they HAD been performed in dinner theaters.
He never saw any of my plays.
He made up "dinner theaters".
Now, why would someone make up something like that?
The only reason I can think of is to imply that my plays are not worthy to be performed in legitimate venues.
It was pure mean-spiritedness.
I've mentioned that I don't enjoy writing arbitrary villains.
What I enjoy even less is encountering them and working with them.
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays", and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.
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- Why I Am Not Babaloo Mandel. Part Eight.
- Why I Am Not Babaloo Mandel. Part Seven.
- Why I Am Not Babaloo Mandel. Part Six.
- Why I Am Not Babaloo Mandel. Part Five.
- Why I Am Not Babaloo Mandel. Part Four.
- Why I Am Not Babaloo Mandel. Part Three.
- Why I Am Not Babaloo Mandel. Part Two.
- Why I Am Not Babaloo Mandel. Part One.
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- mark rothman
- Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at email@example.com. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."